|Speech by H.E Ambassador Ma Keqing at the Reception of the 68th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China|
H.E. chairman of the Senate of the Parliament of the Czech Republic
Mr. Milan Stech,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
In the golden autumn of October, there are two major events in China. On October 1st, the whole country will celebrate the 68th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China as we do today. And on October 18th, the Chinese Communist Party will convene its 19th National Congress, which will outline a new strategic plan for the comprehensive development of the country in the years to come. The congress attracts expectations of the Chinese people and attention from the international community.
Over the past five years, since the last party congress, China's economy has sustained a medium-high growth, with an average annual increase of 7.2%. China's GDP in 2016 reached 11.2 trillion US dollars, accounting for 15% of the world's total. As the second largest economy, China has contributed over 30% of global growth. The first two quarters of this year have seen a 6.9% growth of China’s economy. This together with other major economic indicators performed better than expected.
The rapid economic development has profoundly changed the life style of the Chinese people and brought them great benefits. The operating mileage of China's high-speed rail reached 22,000 km, ranking the first in the world. Recently, part of the high-speed railways speeded up to 350 km per hour, that enables a trip of 1300 km from Beijing to Shanghai accomplished within four and half hours. The number of netizens in China amounts to 710 million. Internet+ has not only made possible for the Chinese people to express their opinions of state affairs and protect their own interest online, but also greatly facilitated their daily life. Foreign visitors in China are positively surprised to see how people easily pay shoppings and services by merely using a mobile phone. Innovation-driven development strategy helps create a large number of high value-added jobs. Thanks to the increased income, more and more Chinese citizens can afford to outbound trips, which totalled 120 million in 2016. After helping 700 million people lifted out of poverty in the past 40 years, the Chinese government now takes more targeted measures in poverty alleviation. By 2020, China will comprehensively eradicate poverty, making all citizens enjoy benefits brought about by the reform and development.
Over the past five years, interactions between China and the world have embarked on a new era. While focusing on its own development and assuming its due international obligations, China endeavors to contribute new visions and perspectives to the global governance and the world economy. It has proposed a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation, upheld multilateralism and basic norms of international relations to resolve regional hot-spot issues peacefully through political and diplomatic means and safeguard world peace, as well as fairness and justice. China strongly supports multilateral trade system instead of protectionism and puts forward a vision of jointly building a community of shared future for mankind. Growing number of China’s initiatives have become international consensus. Since 2016, the "Belt and Road" initiative, building of community of shared future for mankind and the principle of achieving shared growth through discussion and collaboration, have been successively written into the relevant United Nations resolutions.
This year also marks the 68th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the Czech Republic. In recent years, the two sides have seized the historical opportunities of "Belt and Road” Initiative and “16 +1 cooperation" scheme, resulting in a series of fruitful cooperation in politics, economy, trade and people-to-people exchange. Frequent exchanges of high level visits and upgrading of our relationship to strategic partnership have contributed to the enhancement of political mutual trust. Bilateral trade amounts to 11 billion US dollars, which accounts for 20% of China's total trade with the 16 countries in Central and Eastern Europe. The accumulated Chinese investments to the Czech Republic have increased to 3 billion US dollars with a steady growth of greenfield and high-added value projects. For the Czech side, Skoda auto and Home Credit are quite successful in Chinese market, which accounts respectively for 29% and 58% of their global business.
Three direct flights from Beijing, Shanghai and Chengdu to Prague have been in operation for some time and other three are in the pipeline. The direct flights have facilitated the economic and trade exchanges and brought a boom of Chinese tourists, which totalled 355,000 in 2016 and will be certainly exceeded this year.
A variety of activities on culture, education, science, technology, health care and sports have been carried out as well. Good examples are the "Happy Chinese New Year" celebration in Prague, increasing number of inter-university and student exchanges, a growing interest and demand in Chinese traditional medicine, and exchanges of training and tournaments in football, ice-hockey and basketball etc.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The successful cooperation between China and the Czech Republic is the manifestation of the mutually beneficial and win-win nature of our bilateral relations. We stand ready to join hands with people from all walks of life in the Czech Republic, to sustain the good momentum of our relations and deliver more results and benefits to our two countries and people.
With these words, I propose a toast,
to the prosperity of the People’s Republic of China and the Czech Republic,
to the long-term and stable development of the China-Czech relationship,
and to the health of each and everyone present,